I have an extremely tough exterior and maybe even interior that has made my dating life pretty much non-existent at the age of 23. I need help?

I had a toxic relationship. I really wouldn't even call what I had a relationship. He was constantly testing me, playing games w/ me. We didn't act like or do normal couple things. What really destroyed me & my self-esteem was that he would completely cut off all communication w/ me out of the blue one day & wouldn't talk to me for weeks or months w/o ANY reason & that made me insane, sitting there wondering what I had done? Y he wasn't talking to me? Then one day he would call & ask to see me & act like nothing happened & say that he loved me but still no reason for Y he stopped talking to me & I wouldn't ask cuz I was SO weak & just happy to have him back. That went on for 2 years & at the end of it I was EXHAUSTED & realized I was better off. But I made a mistake & started dating right away cuz I was so down on myself & felt worthless, I just wanted someone to make me feel desired, I just wanted something stable. But that obviously didn't work, I was a BIG mess & it only hurt my self-esteem even more but I learned my lesson & took time off. Its been a year, Im happy w/ my life, I am ready to start dating again, but I trained myself SOO HARD in the past year to be strong & not let a man take over my life, I view the idea dating & flirting as something that “weak” woman do, I see it as a recipe for disaster. All I wanna do is prove to myself & everyone that I AM STRONG cuz I was so weak for so long. But at the end of the day, Im human & I have needs. Im 23 & almost every girl around me has a bf, fiancé, husband or just a guy that has a crush on them & texts them. I dont have any of that. I dont have someone to look forward to texting, I dont get butterflies when my iPhone goes off, I no its either my mom, my dad or my sister. I want to feel desired SO badly. But at the same time Im too strong, I like to believe that no one looks at me. I avoid eye contact cuz I dont wanna seem like Im interested. I dont want to give that power to men, that they caught my attention


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Sorry for what that guy did to you. With what you have described you have closed your heart. You are already on your way to recovering because of your understanding. To help you develop normal relationships try to get some counseling. You'll need help in learning to trust guys. Dating and being flirty and feeling attractive isn't being weak. . . it's being feminine. The final step in your recovery will come when you again feel strong enough to let your beauty shine, girl.

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    • That's another one of my issues, I'm not feminine. And I don't mean physically, I mean mentally. Physically, I am exactly what a female should look like, I have long hair, I dress well, I am petite and I take care of myself. But on the inside I'm not feminine at all. I don't flirt, I don't smile often, and if I do its very casual. When I talk to men, I talk to them as if they're anyone else. I have lost touch with my femininity and it's mainly because I correlate femininity with weakness and vulnerability. And those are two things I want to avoid.

    • " Looking back on the girl I used to be, I am disgusted of myself." True, no doubt. But remember there was something happier about the girl you used to be. So don't stop dating. Just date smarter.
      "I'm not feminine at all. I don't flirt, I don't smile often, and if I do its very casual. When I talk to men, I talk to them as if they're anyone else." It sounds like you could be a huge asset in the business world. It's not so compatible with finding love where being vulnerable to a guy is a prerequisite.

    • Thanks for "Most Helpful". Feel free to stay in touch.

What Guys Said 7

  • I'm sorry but to be honest you're screwing yourself over. it sounds like your ex was an absolute c0ck, and you've let him win. why do I say this? because
    a) you "avoid eye contact with men"; does that sound like an invitation to a guy who might be trying to see if his approach would be accepted or ignored--self-explanatory from your avoiding eye contact.
    b) "flirting and dating are for weak women". i'm sorry but wth? those are the fun parts.
    This is going to be taken the wrong way, but if your ex has had that much of an effect on you, I suggest 1) phoning him up and briefly telling him what an absolute sh1t he was to you before blocking his number, and 2) going to counselling (I'm not being facetious here). othrwise, based on how you're reacting to the dating scene, he's destroyed your life. if you're not in to dating or flirting, that only leaves one night stands.
    23 is young; dont judge yourself by other people's choices to get married/engaged at that age. and please, just allow yourself to have fun!
    good luck.

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    • Well I don't have communication with him at all anymore, I haven't seen or talked to him in over a year and I don't even think about him at all.

      my issue is that I really do think that being available to men is a weak and vulnerable position for women to be in & well no one-night stands aren't my style lol

      And I know I'm young, I'm really not looking for marriage but like I said, just someone who likes me but with the way I am, it's impossible to have it.

    • I think if you're avoiding eye contact, and will not flirt or date, then sadly I agree. Ironically, by doing these things, you'll attract exactly the wrong type of guy (who can see you're damaged and abuse it/you). Put yourself int he place of a intelligent, hellishly shy guy for who just approaching a 'neutral' women is tough, let alone the iron curtain you have put up around you. And that intelligent hellishly shy guy was me from ages 16-22 until I forced myself to change (for the better)--I hope you can too! best of luck.

  • it seems obvious that your long relationship is what made you feel like this. realizing it was a mistake and leaving was the right thing to do and one big first step. after you took some time off to get your strengths back, there is not much you can do except to 'get out there' and start dating again. your a strong woman, you already learned from your bad experience, you're obviously not doing the same mistake again, so you really should slowly start to date again. just pay more atention to the guys you date and as soon as you see something that indicates he's crazy, gtfo!! there is no better way for you to prove to yourself (dont care about proving to others) that you are strong, by leaving when you feel uncomfortable and not letting another guy treat you like your ex treated. and then surprise surprise, you will meet the right person. good luck:)

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    • But the whole idea of "getting out there" also scares me because a part of me has it's insecurities. I am afraid of rejection. I'm afraid I'll like the guy too much and he will take advantage of that, he'll destroy me. Where I am at right now is the safe zone. I'm safe. I'm safe from getting hurt, I'm safe from rejection, stress, distractions. But I'm also bored and lonely. My idea of dating is either one extreme or the other because all I've ever experienced I've never had anything normal. Like I said my ex and I were not like normal couples, we never went out, I would get invited to events and birthdays and I would have to take my cousin as my date because my ex didn't wanna go. He was never around my family, I always had to go to this family. I don't know what it feels like to have a support (mainly emotional support) of a man and that's why I've trained myself not to even need it.

    • realistically speaking, i doubt that a guy that takes advantage of you, you will end up liking to much. again... you already made the mistake once, you won't do it again:) well beeing in the safe zone is always ways. and its unterstandable that after what you went through, the the whole 'getting out there' thing scares you. but its a risk that you have to take wich also happens to be another way for you to prove yourself how strong you are

  • i dont think you should call yourself weak for trying to make a relationship work, it just shows your smart and care about your future unlike some who just choose to live in the present.. your really lucky to have these values this early, and i think you should continue focusing on finding the right guy rather than worrying about when you will find him, Anyone can get into relationships but you just choose to have a stable long term relationship and there is nothing wrong with that. sorry about my bad English :P hope i got my point across :)

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  • Listen, any time you get a game player drop the bastard like a bag of dog shit. He taught you a good lesson testing you. you test your potential loves to se if they are a keeper... that is what dating is for. Try to loosen up and give men another try. Or you can go lesbi or marry your vibrator Those seem to be your choices... you pick.

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  • You know this might hurt but I think the truth why you want to feel "desired so badly" is because you're unhappy with yourself one way or another. Cliche moment, you gotta love yourself first. I'm 25 and I've never tried getting a girlfriend because I honestly believed that getting a girlfriend to 'fill the void' would have ended in a mess. I had to fix myself first. You really think getting a BF will solve everything? I think it'll break your heart even more if it doesn't work out

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    • Hmm that's not really case. Okay pretty much.. I haven't been physical with a guy in almost a year now. I'm not the type of girl to sleep around. I'm in my 20's, I get NO action haha it's frustrating. I want to have to those things but with someone valuable and someone worthy of it and yes I know I'm supposed to wait for the right person but it's been a year and the thought of waiting any longer is awful, what if I have to wait another year or even more.

  • Just as you conditioned yourself before, you must do it again. Instant results are unable realistic. You've remodeled your thought process before, I am confident you can do it again. Just try hard and believe in yourself.

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    • Unrealistic, not unable realistic... dafuq?

    • But I am afraid of falling into that trap. Looking back on the girl I used to be, I am disgusted of myself. I am disgusted at how weak and stupid I was. I don't want to be like that gain. I want to have all of the power, there is no way in hell I would EVER allow someone to have that much control over me. And my idea of dating is just that. A man dictating all of your emotions and your whole life basically.

    • Judging from what I perceive, you cannot go back to that; you are forever a different person. Not all dating is like what you think it is. A lot of people suck in this world, but there is just about every type of relationship possibility out there. You just have to find the right guy now. Given your past experiences, you will do fine to not get trapped. When talking to new guys keep your guard up for a few months but not in a hindering way.

  • You need to learn to be vulnerable because if your never emotional with someone how the hell do you expect to connect with someone

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    • I know that vulnerability is something that men want to see in a girl but like I have mentioned I was SOO vulnerable for SOO long in the past, I was so weak and needy, I don't want to be like that. I want to be strong and I want men to know that I DONT NEED them or even want them! I want to be able to be on my own and not have to go to anybody but at the same time I want a man's attention so bad and I wanna give a man my attention.

    • It doesn't mean weak it just means being honest, when your happy you say your happy and when your sad you say your sad. That's the point of a relationship, to support each other which is impossible when you don't put anything into it to get attached. It's called falling in love for in love for a reason, as splat your heart may hit the ground and explode into a million pieces. So in the end who is weaker, a person to scared to open up because they might get hurt or someone who no matter what has faith in love and gets up and tries again and again until they find the right person to love and love them back.

    • Listen be thankful you have a heart and get to experience a wonderful range of emotions, unlike me who has never even been close to being in love and half the time feels completely dead inside

What Girls Said 1

  • Wow reading this made me feel like I could have written this about myself. I definitely see where your coming from. I was in long relationship with I very controlling guy. I always felt like I was never good enough for him. He always made me feel like I was a second choice and when he would show me the love I wanted, I would let him because I wanted sooo bad not realizing how fucked up he was. I noved on finally from him because he really hurt me but I didn't let him break me down as a woman. Im single and just how you are now im the same way.
    I want to date but... I don't know
    Honestly reading this kinda open my eyes to my own problems...

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    • Yeah that's exactly how he was controlling, condescending, and yes I was always a second choice but not to other girls, I was always a second choice in comparison to his family, and okay I get that family comes first, but here's an example of what I mean. His sister and I were pretty close, we'd hang out often and I would just decide to call him and he would ignore my call then 2 seconds later his sister would call and he would pick up. Things like that always made me wonder why? Why doesn't he want to talk to me?

      But yeah I can't date, there are days when I don't see myself good enough, then some days I see myself as "too good" for anyone, a part of me is thinking well maybe I'm not ready yet, but then another part of me is afraid of taking too much time off and getting used to this life and never being able to get back in there and start dating. It's awful honestly. I always wish that he wasn't my first love because he COMPLETELY destroyed me, my perspective and my mentality.

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